Indianapolis, Ind. - Ninth-seeded Indiana rolled to a 57-39 win over eighth-seeded Wisconsin in first-round action at the Big Ten Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse Thursday. By holding Wisconsin to 39 points, the Indiana defense set a new Big Ten Tournament record for fewest points allowed in a single game.
The Hoosiers (12-16 overall) stifled the Badger offense all game long, limiting Wisconsin to 16-for-51 shooting in the contest (31.4 percent.)
"I'm really excited about our defensive performance," Indiana head coach Kathi Bennett said. "In the second half, we came out ready. I thought the adjustments we made at half were good. We just found a way in the second half to respond to some crucial situations."
With the win, Indiana claimed its fifth victory in its last six games at the Big Ten Tournament and claimed its fourth win in five games against the Badgers.
Neither team looked good offensively in the first half, until Indiana sophomore Cyndi Valentin drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the Hoosiers into the locker room with a 26-22 lead. The momentum from Valentin's shot carried over into the second half, as the Hoosiers outscored the Badgers, 31-17 in the second half to seal the win.
Jenny DeMuth led all scorers with 15 points despite an uncharacteristic 6-for-20 shooting day from the field, with Valentin adding 12 and Sarah McKay contributing with 10. Angela Hawkins had eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
McKay was particularly effective in the first half, but she went to the bench just five minutes into the second half with her fourth foul. However, Indiana continued to separate itself from Wisconsin behind the solid bench play of Carrie Smith, who stepped in to score seven points with McKay saddled with foul trouble.
"The last time we played Wisconsin, our defense wasn't what it needed to be," McKay said. We worked on it all week in practice and then we just did it in the game today."
The Hoosiers face top-seeded Penn State at noon tomorrow. The Lady Lions are ranked fifth nationally in this week's AP poll and boast this year's Big Ten Player of the Year in Kelly Mazzante, the conference Defensive Player of the Year in Tanisha Wright and the Big Ten Coach of the Year, Rene Portland.
Penn State handed Indiana a 66-49 defeat at Assembly Hall in the only meeting between the two teams this year. The Lady Lions eliminated the Hoosiers from last year's Big Ten Tournament with a narrow 64-62 win.
"We showed tonight that we're ready and we're going to fight for everything we can get," DeMuth said. "Penn State is the number one seed, but look what happened two years ago when we beat the number one seed."